Fine Arts Building (Chicago)

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Studebaker Building
Fine Arts Building 410 South Michigan Avenue.jpg
Fine Arts Building (Chicago) is located in Chicago Loop
Fine Arts Building (Chicago)
Location 410–418 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois
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Built 1884
Architect Solon Beman
Architectural style Romanesque
NRHP Reference # 75000653
Significant dates
Added to NRHP August 11, 1975[1]
Designated CL June 7, 1978

The ten-story Fine Arts Building, also known as the Studebaker Building, is located at 410 S Michigan Avenue across from Grant Park in Chicago in the Chicago Landmark Historic Michigan Boulevard District. It was built for the Studebaker company in 1884–5 by Solon Spencer Beman, and extensively remodeled in 1898, when Beman removed the building's eighth (then the top) story and added three new stories, extending the building to its current height.[2] Studebaker constructed the building as a carriage sales and service operation with manufacturing on upper floors. The two granite columns at the main entrance, 3 feet 8 inches (1.12 m) in diameter and 12 feet 10 inches (3.91 m) high, were said to be the largest polished monolithic shafts in the country.[3] The interior features Art Nouveau motifs and murals dating from the 1898 renovation.

Currently, true to its name, it houses artists' lofts, art galleries, theatre, dance and recording studios, interior design firms, musical instrument makers, and other businesses associated with the arts. It also holds offices of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Jazz Institute of Chicago, the Grant Park Conservancy, the World Federalist Association, the Chicago Youth Symphony, the Boitsov Classical Ballet School and Company, and the venerable Artist's Cafe, known to generations of late-night diners.[4] It was designated a Chicago Landmark on June 7, 1978.[5]

Studebaker Theatre

The Studebaker Building houses the Studebaker Theatre, also known as Studebaker Hall, dedicated in 1898.[6] It was the site of David Bispham's 1901 recital exclusively featuring the songs of Carrie Jacobs-Bond.[7] The venue also housed some of the earliest live television shows including DuMont Television Network's Cavalcade of Stars hosted by comedian Jack Carter.

Chicago Little Theatre

From 1912 to 1917, the Fine Arts Building housed the Chicago Little Theatre, an art theater credited with beginning the Little Theatre Movement in the United States. Not being able to afford rental on the building's 500-seat auditorium, co-producers Maurice Browne and Ellen Van Volkenburg rented a large storage space on the fourth floor at the back and built it out into a 91-seat house.[8]



  1. Staff (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Schulze, Franz & Harrington, Kevin (2003). Chicago's Famous Buildings (5th ed.) Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-74066-8.
  3. See building No.3 on illustration Looking West from Michigan Boulevard
  4. "Fine Arts Building". Fine Arts Building. Retrieved 2007-05-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Fine Arts Building". City of Chicago. Retrieved 2007-05-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Chris Jones, "Historic Studebaker gets another moment in the spotlight" in Chicago Tribune, 2008 August 11 (accessed 2009 August 19).
  7. Library of Congress Jacobs-Bond site.
  8. Browne, Maurice. Too Late to Lament: An Autobiography. London, Gollancz, 1955; p 120.

External links